Nearly a year ago — Nov. 8, 2018 — the results of the 2018 election caused the opinion editor of this page such anguish that he wrote in frustration, “Yes, it pains us to say that the dear commonwealth that produced ... Washington ... Jefferson ... and Madison no longer hews to instinctive conservatism.”
Since the three gentlemen mentioned were all slaveholders, one might interpret the editors comments to mean he pined for “the good old days” that stretched from the Civil War to the 1960s, the period that encompassed the Jim Crow era. But since the 2018 election produced so many new women legislators in Virginia, he was more likely fondly mulling over Feb. 12, 1920, when “instinctively conservative” Virginia men voted not to ratify the 19th Amendment. Yes, those Virginians were so instinctively conservative, they pouted another 32 years (1952), when Virginia finally caught up to the rest of the country by also ratifying a woman’s right to vote.
But alas, all was not in vain. Those conservatives were an inspiration to the editor. This past year he has filled his editorials with cautionary tales of how four women of color are leading our country to ruin. Democrat Jennifer Wexton, who wrested the 10th District from the editor’s conservative favorite, has been blackballed from his columns. And then, on Oct. 21, his page put women in their place by denigrating the most accomplished woman in America.
Using editorial by proxy, in this case a political cartoon he chose to print, the editor’s instinctive conservatism again surfaced as he allowed his page to depict the first woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, as an out-of-control child thrashing around on the floor.
The previous week’s events must have led to the editor’s desperation. Accomplished women from the White House and the State Department defied administrative (Trump) directives and testified before the House’s impeachment inquiry. Also, two women proved they were able to walk in space without a man holding their hands. But what must have really riled the editor was the iconic photo of Speaker Pelosi standing in a room full of men reprimanding the president for acting like a petulant child. (Thus what appears to be projection in the political cartoon)
In the 2019 election Virginians are again being asked to choose between instinctive conservatism and progressive thought. The Republican candidates for Virginia House and Senate seats do not believe the Equal Rights Amendment should be brought to the floor for a vote even though the amendment would prohibit discrimination based on gender.
They also support bills that would deny reproductive choice for Virginia women. Votes for Democrats Irina Khanin (House), Wendy Gooditis (House), Mavis Taintor (House), and Ronnie Ross (Senate) will ensure Virginia keeps progressing forward, not “instinctively” regressing back to a time one hopes has been left behind forever.